HDC@LPC- Testimony for Hearing on September 25, 2018

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal affecting New York City’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) whenever it is needed. Please continue reading for our testimony regarding the latest items under consideration by the Commission. We invite you to visit the HDC@LPC blog for an archive containing all of our past testimony.
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Item 2

21-26 45th Avenue – Hunters Point Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1924923

A neo-Grec style rowhouse built in 1886. Application is to construct a rear yard addition, modify masonry openings, and replace windows.

The Historic Districts Council objects to the atypical widening of the opening on the third floor at the rear to create a door, and we find the bulkhead excessively large and out-of-proportion. Though this proposal is cleverly designed, this is a small-scale building, and we ask the Commission to ensure that its essential character is not altered.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 3

29-37 Jay Street – DUMBO Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1927029

A warehouse built in 1975-1977. Application is to demolish the existing building and construct a new building.

HDC generally finds the plan for the new building at this site appropriate, and that it will fit in well with the hodge-podge industrial nature of the corner. We believe that GRFC is used well here in terms of design, though request that the Commission consider how it will age, and the patina it will acquire.

Our concerns lie with the historic Belgian block and rail tracks, which although are a protected feature of the historic district, are constantly disappearing. We understand that removal of the Belgian block paving has already begun, rendering images of existing conditions in the presentation materials obsolete. We ask that the LPC determine that what has already been removed is properly stored, and that, going forward, the safe removal of these materials, and their appropriate storage and re-use is monitored and documented.

LPC determination: NO ACTION


Item 5

543 11th Street – Park Slope Extension Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1927757

A Romanesque Revival style flats building built 1891-93. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions

HDC strongly objects to the work at the rear, which completely alters the character of the historic building. No design consideration has been given to the rear façade, and its materials and fenestration are unacceptable. The extension on the third floor is totally inappropriate, as, at the very least, the rear cornice line should be maintained. It is difficult to evaluate the penthouse without a mock up, but it appears to be oversized in its height.

LPC determination: NO ACTION


Item 6

380 Sterling Place – Prospect Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1929698

A Renaissance Revival/Romanesque Revival style rowhouse designed by Benjamin Driesler and built c. 1901 Application is to alter the rear extension.

There is insufficient information in the presentation materials to evaluate this proposal. Research should done to determine the building’s historic profile, and the rear bump-out should probed to determine its age. It is a significant, designed architectural feature, and its demolition should not be approved without proper consideration of its historic context.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 7

416-424 Washington Street – TriBeCa North Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1918291

A Utilitarian, Romanesque Revival style warehouse designed by Thomas R. Jackson and built in 1882. Application is to legalize the installation of a barrier-free access lift without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s) and to legalize alterations to the marquee performed in non-compliance with Certificate of No Effect 17-1975.

HDC recommends that the LPC not legalize the access ramp, and mandate that the owners pursue corrective work.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 9

246 West 12th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1926959

A rowhouse designed by Reuben R. Wood and built in 1852. Application is to replace windows, lintels and a door, modify the areaway, construct a rooftop addition, modify a rear yard addition, and perform excavation.

HDC would prefer to see brick chimneys, rather than flues, used in this project if the exhaust systems must be visible, and that the rooftop bulkhead be given a slanted roof to minimize visibility or moved to the rear. At the rear, we find that the design is not entirely resolved, and its details and ratio of masonry to glazing needs further consideration.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 10

159 Bleecker Street – South Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1914588

An Arts and Crafts style theater building designed by Samuel Levingson and built in 1917-
1918, with alterations designed by Eugene K. Schafer and completed in 2004-2007. Application is to replace storefront infill and alter the marquee.

Though one could argue that the horses are already out of the barn, as this building that once housed the Circle in the Square Theater has already undergone significant and regrettable contemporary interventions, we believe this proposal should be entirely re-thought and redesigned. The design is ill-considered, the materials are inappropriate, and the proposal should be denied.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 14

14 Henderson Place – Henderson Place Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1927947

A Queen Anne style rowhouse designed by Lamb & Rich and built in 1880-82. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.

The HDC would like to commend the applicants for proposing brick chimneys rather than a multitude of stove pipes. 14 Henderson Place is a precious and exquisite little building, and we believe that the proposed addition’s articulation could be better defined before a C of A is granted.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 16

2405 Amsterdam Avenue – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1925198

An Art Moderne style pool complex designed by architect Aymar Embury II, landscape architects Gilmore D. Clarke and Allyn R. Jennings, and civil engineers W. Earle Andres and William H. Latham, and built in 1934-36. Application is to install rooftop HVAC equipment.

We are sympathetic to the Parks Department’s difficulties in installing minimally visible HVAC equipment in this building that is publicly visible in the round with athletic spaces inside. We simply ask that if there are less bulky commercially available chillers that would serve, their use should be explored.

LPC determination: Approved 

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